Never Forget Final Walk Through Reason # 31

Buyers Beware; Do Your Final Walk Through

An important, and all too frequently forgotten aspect of real estate is the final walk through.  It comes to mind lately with all the crazy things going on in our market. We have iBuyers, and cash investors and fast transactions driven by multiple offers. 

So the market is moving fast and sometimes Buyers forget or overlook an important task.  Never forget final walk through.  I’ve seen all sorts of disasters in my real estate career. Doing a final walk through can save you – the client – a ton of heartache and legal expenses.  

Here’s the most recent horror story shared in one of my networking groups.

The All Included Condo

Laurie, an agent out of Kissimmee Florida was recently working with a couple purchasing an investment property.  What really sweetened the deal for this young investor couple: the home was coming fully furnished. 

Plus, it was located in a primo location for short term rentals.  The new buyers were super excited for the Air BnB opportunities plus a place to use when not rented out.

The Buyers Are Out Of State

Its not uncommon these days for one or both parties not to physically be at the closing.  I’ve had closings where the agents showed up on different days to sign in person while both home buyer and seller were a mailout to another location.

In this Florida transaction, only the agent was available. And being a top notch Old School agent (with 31 years experience), she made time to go by the house the day before. Where she discovered all the furnishings had been removed from the home. Yikes.  This was supposed to be a fully furnished condo deal.  

What was the Seller thinking? A quick call to the listing agent revealed, “he didn’t think the buyers really wanted all the furnishings.”  Oops. 

What Happens Next? 

I would first and foremost contact an attorney.  It seems this is a breach of contract by the Seller.  It is going to definitely impact financing.  If the seller removed the furniture and then overs to compensate with cash, a mortgage lender could have a real problem with that.  

And I’m not sure the two parties could agree on the cash necessary.  While the owner might feel the furniture was older and less valuable, the fact is, furnishing a home decently still costs a pretty penny.  Here are some of the comments shared by other agents from across the country.

Agents Weigh In On Missing Furnishings

  1. Many agents suggested the Seller should return the furnishings.  Me? I think this would be difficult to document, even with Before and After photographs.
  2. Another group of Realtors thought the Seller should be on the hook for $10,000 to $20,000 in furnishings.  That would be a tough pill to swallow for a seller (cue attorneys getting involved!).
  3. One practical bit of advice – go beyond the contract. Simply checking a box can be something a party misses (in good faith) in all the excitement.  Best to have an addendum outlining everything that is included.   And – in our market – be ready to have to separate this personally property from the real property to soothe an underwriter.

Closer To Home Example

During the big floods that hit Boulder County several years back, I heard of another story regarding furnishings. The buyers had a house lined up including all the interior furnishings.  The house was a turn of the century property and included some killer cool photos that were from nearly a century ago.

All around, a lot of charm and character. There was even an old car in the garage – albeit one that didn’t run, but could be a classic — with a LOT of work.

And then the floods hit and completely swamped this house.  In the end, the buyers still bought, but for a fraction of the original contract price. All those furnishings and photos – lost in five feet of mud that over powered the little house. FEMA came in and scraped most everything off the property.  But that property – acreage along a creek in Boulder – that was invaluable to the buyers. And everyone was able to make a deal that worked. 

So sometimes, something missing from the time of contract isn’t a disaster.  But always always do your final walk through just to be safe!!


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